If you support the death penalty …

Discussion in 'Politics & Current Events' started by aloisius, Nov 18, 2004.

  1. Mel Brennan

    Mel Brennan PLANITARCHIS' BANE

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    It's very weird how you are justifying something clearly against what Christ said by saying that Christ didn't expressly, literally forbid it. You're using the absence of a commandment as an override of the GREATEST COMMANDS.

    Very weird, but I see how Christianity is able, given that logic, to participate in all the things it does around the world, instead of being about what it's been commanded to do; the logic of the above is reflected in all kinds of behaviour, organised behaviour, that is fronted with Christ as a shield for such practices.


  2. Daksims

    Daksims New Member

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    Christ said he came not to destroy the law of Moses. He came to fulfill it. The Old Testament law was not, when Christ came, all of a sudden void. Christians, though, dead to the law are still to abide by it. One of the things set in the law that Christ came to fulfill was the death penalty. Christ even said the kids that curse their parents should die the death. If that's not a support of the death penalty, what is?
  3. Pathogen

    Pathogen Member

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    You're deranged. If we followed your dumbass law, there'd be no teenagers left.
  4. Mel Brennan

    Mel Brennan PLANITARCHIS' BANE

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    You keep avoiding and running from the real leap of faith you need to take. When you're ready, the Greatest Commandments of your Lord, the expansive, love-based definition of neighbor proferred by your Lord, are waiting for you.

    Until then though, recognise that there's very little difference between the twists and turns folks make to try to get Christ on the side of murder and saying "I hate Christ." Very little.


  5. John Galt

    John Galt New Member

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    First, as yossarian points out, Texas is not always in compliance with the Constitution. Second, I don't think sophistry is defined as reaching a different logical conclusion from Smiley321. Third, you will note that my post challenged merely on the possibility of logically coming to a conclusion that results in opposition to the death penalty.

    The due process standard for death penalty cases is in question and subject to further Supreme Court refinement. Moreover, the standards for "cruel and unusual punishment" are by Supreme Court precedent supposed to be evolving and possibly changing over time. The Republican governor of Illinois came to the conclusion that the state's due process was inadequate and ended the death penalty in his state. This was not unreasonable.

    My objection to your posts is not that you are pro-DP. It's that you can't acknowledge that there is a logical way to be anti-DP.

    Once you grasp that the Supreme Court has overturned the DP on system-wide basis in some states, on a case-by-case basis in others, and even throughout the country, isn't it fair to characterize your position as closed-minded and illogical?
  6. Daksims

    Daksims New Member

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    Mel, Christ said more than one thing.

    Have you accepted Christ as your Saviour, Mel?
  7. speedcake

    speedcake Member

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    Why do you ask? Must he have before he can discuss this? Have you? Are you more or less able to discuss the death penalty and Christ if you have or have not accepted him?



    You were right Mel, it's been a good ride.
  8. yossarian

    yossarian Moderator Staff Member

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    This is spot on....(not trying to speak for you, John) and basically what I was going to say in reply. You make especially good points regarding how the Supreme Court has written that the 8th Amendment is an evolving standard. In fact, this language, just recently resulted in the Missouri Supreme Court over-turning a death sentence based on the age and mental capacity of the defendant at the time the crime was committed. The Missouri Court stated that the "evolving standards" of what constitutes cruel and unusual punishment allowed them consider whether it would be cruel and unusual to execute a defendant who was 16 at the time of the crime and borderline mentally deficient. IMHO, the Missouri Court was stretching in light of the fact that SCOTUS has already ruled on similar cases but it's interesting nevertheless, that the Mo. Court thought the "evolving standards" language allowed them to take a shot at getting this age/deficiency question revisited.

    IIRC, the Supreme Court heard the case sometime during October....haven't heard anything regarding a ruling.
  9. Daksims

    Daksims New Member

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    I felt like it.

    No.

    Yes, I have.

    I don't believe that accepting Christ as Saviour is a requirement for conducting a logical discussion on the death penalty.

    :)
  10. Bill Archer

    Bill Archer BigSoccer Supporter

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    I believe you are referring to the Simmons case. The SCOTUS has not issued a ruling, nor is one very likely until there are nine justices presiding. This one is too important, and until Rehnquist either returns to deliberations or is replaced, cases like this will probably have to wait.

    Two years ago they were 6-3 on excluding the Mentally Retarded. They did indeed acknowledge at that time that there was an "evolving standard" and that a 'National consensus" was in process. This was the standard the Missouri SP cited in overturning Simmons' execution.

    On this specific point - underage defendants - (and I believe SImmons was 17 not 16) they last ruled in the 80's, allowing the execution of a 17 year old in, I believe, Florida (could be wrong). However, O'Connor and Kennedy are both likely to refuse to execute Simmons if they get the chance, and they're the swing votes on this issue.

    Interestingly, the whole thing came to a real head last December when that Virginia jury refused to condemn Lee Boyd Malvo. That does indeed seem to be a benchmark that can be pointed to as the "current consensus", although their decision may have stemmed in part from the fact that it was Christmas week.

    Nonetheless, if Malvo didn't get the needle, it's hard to see how a dimwit like Simmons, who is guilty mostly of stupidity, can be judged more harshly.

    I doubt whether Simmons last sight on Earth will be Old Sparky.
  11. speedcake

    speedcake Member

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    Well, then I am happy. ;)
  12. Smiley321

    Smiley321 Member

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    No, but it is fair for me to characterize yours as such. If you claim that the 'due process' or 'cruel and unusual' standards in the US constitution prevent the death penalty, then either you are lying or Texas is executing people in violation of the constitution. Since a thorough appeal is automatic for these cases, I must conclude that you are lying.

    You can oppose the death penalty as much as you like. Just stop making dishonest claims to justify it.

    But dishonesty is what you death penalty opponents are all about - you have no chance in the court of public opinion, so you try to force the result you want by finding a few like-minded judges who will swallow your flimsy arguments.
  13. speedcake

    speedcake Member

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    barf
  14. Mel Brennan

    Mel Brennan PLANITARCHIS' BANE

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    Where is Christ quoted as saying that it's important to accept him as my personal, exclusive Saviour, "Saviour" of course meaning an embrace not of the Commandments and Directives, but of the litany of facts? Make it plain; not others, but Christ. Make it plain; as plain as the Commandments that the Bible submits are direct quotes from Christ.

    I know that you believe that if I believe that Mary had lots of sex and that Christ died, was buried for, I don't know, eight days, and then rose again that I'm going to Hell, but I'm looking forthe language from Christ that submits this.

    John 3:16? "whoever believes in him"? Is this your "proof" that Christ demanded we believe the litany of facts over believing in the Commandments?

    What a failure. When I believe in someone, I don't believe in the litany of statistics that describe their birth; I don't believe in MLK because he was born at 501 Auburn Avenue; it's about MLK's thoughts, words, and deeds.

    I believe in many of those. I'll never know what he was thinking, but certainly many of his words and many of his deeds are tangible expressions of who he was, and is, and I believe fervently in many of them.

    With Christ, it's the same thing; I believe in his words and deeds. So, for me, "believing in Christ" IS, IN FACT, WHOLEHEARTED BELIEF THAT THOSE GREAT COMMANDMENTS, THOSE DIRECTIVES, THAT NONVIOLENT LOVINGKINDNESS AS A PERMANENT WAY OF BEING, can save the World.

    Does that make him my Saviour? I don't know. It certainly, for me, makes his words, and his deeds, imbued with the potential to save me and everyone else, in the main because belief, in faith, forces us to act in total giving of self. Everyone, being human, falls regularly short of that total giving in nonviolent lovingkindness, but that is the Command, those are the Directives, and that is the only mode, IMV, that will save us.

    Now, the dogma, OTOH, is not about acting. It doesn't have to be about acting, in the ultimate and final senses, AT ALL. It's about getting, about receiving, about getting away from everyone else through a commitment not TO anyone else but to a litany of acts surrounding Christ while conveniently having the perfect ability to IGNORE the Greatest Commandments he gave, the very things HE submitted upon which everything rests.

    Notice this in your daily dogmatic doings. To what does the church ask you to commit? My church asked me to commit to the litany of facts: Born of a Virgin suffered under Pilate, died,m third day rose, et cetera ad apocalyptum.

    Why? Why choose that as the fulcrum upon which a relationship with Christ is internalised, and not THE VERY THING HE SAID WAS MOST IMPORTANT?

    This really is a silly discussion; you find salvation in the litany, in a framework of the Last Days. I find it in commitment to what I was told, by the most credible source given his sacrifice, to be about, in a framework of the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth.

    Many will say that I'm picking and choosing what makes sense to me;

    My god man. Of course I am! What do you think was the process of distillation and recasting of the Bible as it came down to you and everyone in your family, back through the ages to right now?

    It's been so manipulated, so many things left out and/or changed, that all I can commit to are the big, sweeping things.

    Christ gave primacy to the Great Commandments, and said that they were to love everyone.

    Christ refuted earlier Bible assertions regarding the appropriateness of violence, and refuted all violence, in that by directing us to love our neighbor, love our enemies, and love ourselves, who is there left to act violently against?

    Christ was very clear. That CLARITY could be our Salvation. But we, to a dogmatist, have, IMV, made the colossal error of our Epoch in relationship to God. One way would have allowed us to come into fundamental, healing relationship with other takes on the Numinous; instead, Sgt. Christ, exclusive dogmas that empower a system Christ didn't need bring us only into fundamental relationship with other hostile takes on the Numinous, such as exclusive Islam.

    I am NOT a Christian. No doubt. I am in fundamental relationship with Christ, trying to do what I've been Commanded to do. It's very funny how absent that is, those fundamental Commands to love, period, from everything the dogma is about fundamentally. Again, to me, the worst mistake of our Time, and perfectly, horribly WRONG.

    I know I won't convince you. But there it is. That's me. I'll leave it to the Uncaused Cause to determine whether or not coming to an understanding of Salvation through a dogmatic lens means something, less than nothing, or something in-between.

    But no, if you're fishing for an opp to "save" someone, well, in that frame, I'm the Adversary. And always will be.
  15. GRUNT

    GRUNT Member

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    I'm always amazed that so many people believe this slop.
  16. yossarian

    yossarian Moderator Staff Member

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    Nothing Galt has said is dishonest. Why can't you grasp that? He did not claim that due process and/or the 8th Amendment prevent the death penalty in EVERY case but that those considerations are used to over-turn death sentences in SOME cases. Galt clearly said at the end of his post that it's a state by state even case by case analysis that the Supreme Court undertakes. Sometimes they rule that due process and the 8th Amendment have been adhered to...sometimes they rule that it has not. So, therefore, in some cases Texas is adhering to the Constitution....sometimes (those instances where a case is over-turned) it is not. There is no lying going on at all. You obviously are having a hard time understanding this basic point.

    Look at Bill Archer's post regarding the Simmons case which is the Missouri case to which I was referring. Archer is correct as to what the case entails and I also agree with his assessment about the possible outcome. That right there is an example of how the Supreme Court looks at situations on a case by case basis to decide whether or not the Constitution is being upheld.

    I don't know where you're getting this idea about searching for like-minded judges to over-turn sentences. Are you including members of the Supreme Court? I don't really care if you support the death penalty or not but you really should stop trying to dissect other people's opinions/arguments against it as you obviously have very little understanding of how the legal processes around it work.
  17. Mel Brennan

    Mel Brennan PLANITARCHIS' BANE

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    Acutally, I got one of my two senior seminars submitted for publication in the Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology in 1996 for creating a helix of the 8th and 14 th Amendments that argues that very thing; that, interpreted appropriately, it is Constitutionally impossible to administer capital punishment, that one or the other of the Amendments is marginalised.

    Indeed, examining the opinions of Marshall and Brennan on Furman and Gregg indicate that their analysis of the historic usage of capital punishment in the Western tradition, contrasted with society's evolving standards of what constitutes cruelty as well as the expansion, not reduction, as today's PATRIOT-ised America suffers, of due process lead one to wonder if they were thinking the same thing, but feared that the argument would be ramridden into an assembly-line stramlining of death row in some ghosting of due process, and if that was why they never followed through on the fullness of WHY they were agin' it in its entirety.

    I'll have to find those senior sems; I wrote the other one on the history of capital punishment in Carroll County, MD; they used to love hanging people for stealing food, especially "cake," whatever "cake" actually meant back then.

    But I guess today, with this current expression of what America can be, we ought to walk as far away from that argument, even though it is right to me, as we can, because if Marshall and Brennan were afraid of a let's-streamline-death-row backlash THEN, that would certainly happen now, with these humps.
  18. Smiley321

    Smiley321 Member

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    then please explain this anomaly from Galt:

    so was he saying that due process prevents the application of capital punishment, or just issuing a bland defense of others who make that argument?

    I'd say that it was a weaseling attempt to make the argument himself. And how is it rational to say that the due process standard cannot be met when executions are permitted by the highest courts?

    The statment would have been correct if he'd said that the standards that Galt would make up if he were in charge would eliminate the death penalty. Fortunately, Galt isn't in charge and judges still let us make a few decisions in the political realm.
  19. Naughtius Maximus

    Naughtius Maximus Member+

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    Someone may have already mentioned this but in the UK we had the 1957 homicide act which differentiated between 'quiet' and 'noisy' murders for the purposes of deciding whether something was a capital crime or not. The difference, essentially, was that you were hung for killing someone by shooting them but not by poisoning them.

    If we are to believe the proponents of the death penalty it would be expected that there would be a difference in the proportion of people poisoning or stabbing and those shooting. Well, actually there WAS a difference... unfortunately it was the other way around. More people were killed proportionately by noisy murders than by quiet ones.

    I'm sure there must be American examples but I should probably mention the various incidents in the UK of miscarriages of justice over the years such as the 'Birmingham Six', Derek Bentley, Stefan Kiszko... the Bentley example is particularly bad because everyone, including the police, knew he hadn't murdered anyone for the simple reason that they were holding him when the murder took place.

    Kiszko spent 16 years in prison for rape and murder despite the fact that forensic evidence found heads of sperm in the semen found at the scene, something which Kiszko, a sufferer from XYY syndrome, was physically incapable of producing. Mind you he was probably luckier than Bentley because his 'crime' happened in '76 rather than '53 when we still had the death penalty.
  20. John Galt

    John Galt New Member

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    You're still not interested in a real discussion.

    There's nothing illogical in discussing the standards of due process and applying those standards to the death penalty. You just want to insult liberals so you refuse to acknowledge a fundamental premise.

    It's far more weaselly of you to refuse to acknowledge that due process concerns regularly overturn death penalties all the time. You still haven't addressed the question of Illinois where the governor found the death penalty had not been administered fairly in his state. You haven't addressed the Supreme Court's 1970's decision to end all death penalty cases until certain due process standards were met. You haven't addressed anything other than your blood lust for killin' and your sh!ts and giggles at insulting liberals.

    Finally, given that more than one Supreme Court Justice has stated in published opinions that the death penalty can never meet the standards of constitutional due process, your point that 5 Justices have not said that does absolutely nothing to disprove my point that it's a perfectly reasonable argument to make, and one that you've not even tried to rebut, instead just falling back on the "nuh-huh" line of logic.

    Nice to see that the range of your intellectual argument now moves on to the ludicrous "activist judges" claptrap. The truth is you don't really give a flip about who fries or why, so we can all be far more thankful you're not in charge.
  21. royalstilton

    royalstilton New Member

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    one note on "turn the other cheek": explicit in the example is the reference to "right cheek"; implicit is the fact that most people are right handed. to strike someone on the right cheek with the right hand, you must either be behind them or hit them with the back of your hand.

    what is the implication of hitting someone with the back of your hand? obviously we cannot know what the cultural context was in the first century, but we might be correct in extrapolating from our own cultural context and that of many other cultures. generally a backhand acts more to insult than to inflict damage. if ( a large-sized "if" ) that is the context, Jesus is saying that we should respond to relatively minor offenses perpetrated against us with peaceful tolerance, not with violence.
  22. GRUNT

    GRUNT Member

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    People who oppose the death penalty "are all about dishonesty"?

    Ah, very rational.

    You may disagree, but that does not mean death penalty opponents are dishonest. Most people here are trying to have a rational discussion/debate.

    As for "no chance in the court of public opinion", you might want to do your homework;

    1) if sentencing options include life in prison -- without parole -- public opinion is split roughly evenly -- even in Texas, where jurors must choose between death or life with the possibility of parole (what kind of choice is that?!!)

    2) public preference for "life without parole" -- not the death penalty -- is trending up

    As your statement about "the court of public opinon" can statistically be proven wrong, does that make you a liar or misinformed?
  23. Smiley321

    Smiley321 Member

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    OK, maybe I'm lying and my homework is outdated. Can you give me examples of the death penalty being on the losing side in public opinion? And don't give me that sophistry of things "trending up"- I mean a poll where they asked if they favor eliminating the death penalty - yes or no. I'll go first - nationwide Gallup poll, in favor 71%. Harris poll, 69%. NBC news argumentative question - yes 57%.
    http://www.pollingreport.com/crime.htm#Death

    Because the only victories for the anti-DP side I'm aware of are in court decisions, where the losing side can get their way by finding a sympathetic judge.
  24. yossarian

    yossarian Moderator Staff Member

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    You're ignoring the decision of the Illinois governor.
    I guess you also don't "count" the 12 states that do not allow capital punishment....or the 5 states that have capital punishment still on their books but have not executed anyone since the mid-1970's after the Gregg decision.
  25. GRUNT

    GRUNT Member

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    For the record, I hope you realize I was not calling you a liar. I was making the point that someone is not necessarily a liar, or dishonest, because they disagree, even if they have their facts wrong. People make mistakes.

    Regarding your question, "Can you give me examples of the death penalty being on the losing side in public opinion?", I'd say a 2/3 majority believing the death penalty has no deterant effect is a winner for the anti-DP crowd. And the increasing trend of public opinion against the death penalty is not "sophistry"; it's documented fact. Why dismiss it?

    I am not claiming there is an absolute majority who oppose the death penalty -- yet. In fact, most Americans still think it is a moral punishment. But when given the choice of life in prison (without parole) or the death penalty, the country is split almost down the middle (50% for death, 46% for life without parole and 4% undecided, according to Gallup).

    The court of public opinion is effectively deadlocked. If the death penalty were on trial, it might get off, but only due to mistrial. :)

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